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Bob Duncan 

recently had the pleasure of at- 
tending the first statewide tour- 
nament of the National Archery in 
the Schools Program, held in Fish- 
ersville. It was blustery and gray 
outside, but you'd never know it 
from the excitement, bustle, and 
noise level inside the expo center. 
There, some 300 elementary, middle, 
and high school students from 
across the state came together to 
compete and 'show their stuff — 
namely, their newly developed 
archery prowess. 

Archery is a sport that, by design, 
levels the playing field for all partici- 
pants. It requires skills built upon at- 
tention to form and detail, not neces- 
sarily strength and endurance. Be- 
cause of this, many students who 
might not excel in more mainstream 
sports can and do succeed in archery. 
And parents who joined their kids 
for the day in Fishersville expressed 
heartfelt gratitude. One mother, 
with tears welling up, told me that 

her son had never been able to make 
a high school sports team until now. 
This was a day she would never for- 
get. Coaches and parents also report 
seeing improvements in school- 
work, focus, and self-confidence 
among students who participate. 

Archery, like hunting, is a sport 
you can enjoy your entire life. You 
don't need a team or an institutional 
setting — ^just a safe place outdoors 
for target practice. Patience and per- 
sistence pay off. As your form and 
upper arm strength improve, your 
ability to hit your mark does too. 

There is an old adage that for 
every arrow that goes forward to 
strike the mark, there is a hand that 
holds the bow. That was never more 
evident to me than during this tour- 
nament. The kids impressed each 
and every judge by striking the mark 
of true sportsmanship, while coach- 
es and parents proved how many 
good things come from investing 
time to hold those proverbial bows. 

Overall state individual champions of the 2009 NA5P tournament, shown here with 
Executive Director Bob Duncan: Wayne Veldsman, Hidden Valley High School (L); 
and Sarah Leser, Warwick High School (R). 


Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to sene the needs of the 
Commonwealth; To provide opportunit)' for all to enjoy wildhfe, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work dili- 
gently to safegtiard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia: To promote 
safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and 
materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildhfe resources, their habitats, 
and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 


Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kalne, Governor 



Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
C. T. Hill, Midlothian 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Tom Guess, Staff Contributor 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia V^ildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published montl 
ly by the Virginia Department of Game and Inlan 
Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and addres 
changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, Red Oal 
Iowa 51591-0477, Address all other communicatior 
concerning this publication to Virginia Wildlife, P. C 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmom 
Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates are $12.95 f( 
one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 per each bac 
issue, subject to availability. Out-of-country rate 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. hind 
No rehinds for amounts less than $5.00. To subscrib' 
call toll-free (800) 710-9369. Postmaster: Please sen 
all address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 747 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Postage for periodica 
paid at Richmond, Virginia and additional enti 

Copyright 2009 by the Virginia Department of Garr 
and Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sha 
afford to all persons an equal access to Departmei 
programs and facilities without regard to race, cole 
religion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If yc 
believe that you have been discriminated against 
any program, activity or facility, please write t 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie 
ATTN; Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Streel 
PC. Box 11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informatioi 
al purposes only and every effort has been made 
ensure its accuracy. The information contained here 
does not serve as a legal representation of fish ar 
wildlife laws or regulations. The Virginia Departme 
of Game and Inland Fisheries does not assun 
responsibility for any change in dates, regulations, ■ 
information that may occiu' after publication." 


Mixed Sources 


About the cover: 

Largemouth bass 
salmoides) are 
active in waters 
statewide. Take 
advantage of 
"Free Fishing 
Days," June 5-7, 
and catch your- 
self one! 
©Bill Lindner 

V \ 




For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 



12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 
36 issues for $29.95 

4Fishology for Kids 
by Clarke C. Jones 
Fly-fishing and life lessons go hand in hand. 

SA Fundamental Freedom 
by William H. Funk 

Preservation of private land will determine the 
future of hunting in Virginia. 

1^ Saving Virginia's Bluebirds 

WrW by Marie Ma j arc v 

TTiis tiny songbird has become a symbol of hope 
to birding enthusiasts. 

Ifi Miracles in a Spring Pool 
lU by Spike Knuth 

Amphibians make the most of a fleeting 


Beekeeping 101 
by Sally Mills 

Honey bees need our help and we desperately 
need theirs. 


Tomorrow's Anglers 

by King Moritgomery 

Take a child fishing to discover that the real 
world surpasses the artificial one. 


Beneath The Rocks 
by Gail Brown 

A spunky group of students pushes for a new 
state mascot. 

Afield and Afloat 

30 Journal 

32 On The Water 

33 Dining In 

34 Photo Tips 


[_ arly one morning, my father 
B^ and I took our first and, sadly, 
B^ one of our few fishing adven- 
tures together. We headed down the 
old dirt road built by the Civilian 
Conservation Corps, which led us to 
a narrower dirt road lined with trees. 
As we rounded a bend, a large, shim- 
mering pond greeted us on our right. 
My father backed the car into a little 
cut in the woods, and we walked like 
Andy and Opie down a little path, 
carrying cane poles and corks and 
new, store-bought blood worms. 

My father put the sectionalized 
cane poles together, first rubbing the 

Story by Clarke C. Jones 
photos by Dwight Dyke 

male end on his cheek so his skin oil 
would act as a release agent when 
taking the sections apart at the end of 
the day. We sat on the warped, gray- 
ing dock that extended out into the 
pond, took off our shoes, and let our 
feet soak in the water's warmth. 
Deftly, he put the worms on the 
hooks, set the corks, told me to put 
the line cork and bait in the water 
with as little commotion as possible, 
and then. . . we were fishing! 

I was five years old, and remem- 
ber having lots of questions: Can fish 
smell? Do fish sleep? Where did the 
worm go? Do fish talk? 


My father, after answering 
enough questions, told me if you 
want to catch fish, you have to be 
very, very quiet. He then proceeded 
to lie back on the dock to see if he 
might catch forty winks while I 
caught dinner. 

He looked so peaceful with his 
eyes closed, the sun heating his face, 
and the warm pond water lapping 
around his ankles that I hated to ask 
him one more question — but I did. 
When I asked my dad if a snake could 
bite underwater, I didn't think it 
physically possible that a person, in 
one rapid motion, could go from 
lying on their back to standing on 
their feet. My father can! 

I caught four fish that day, but I 
was the one that was really hooked. 
Unfortunately, we rarely made many 
more forays together to that pond, 
but I still have the memory. Even 
more unfortunate, however, would 
be a child who never had the unfor- 
gettable experience of a fishing trip 
with his father. In a world of comput- 
er games and organized sports, the 
simple pleasures of taking your child 
fishing seem to have waned in some 

for Kids 

A freak snowstorm 

triggers a long-standihg 

fly-fishihg tradition. 

parts of our state, and in the face of 
creeping urbanization the question 
often becomes, "Where can we go 
fishing?" The Department's Web site 
can answer the "where" question. An 
organization with a most bizarre 
name, which dedicates itself to teach- 
ing young boys and girls not only 
fishing, but land stewardship and 
wildlife conservation, can help with 
the "how to" part. 

In April of 1939, a small group of 
men who had met while fishing the 

From learning how to tie a fly to proper casting techniques, concentration is key 
to success. 

MAY 2009 

BOJC member Jeff Wrobet explains casting techniques to young angters and parents. 

year before decided to meet again an- 
nually. Most were devout fly-fisher- 
men, who found themselves strand- 
ed in their cabin by a freak snow- 
storm while on the 1940 fishing trip. 
They began to discuss the future of 
the sport they loved, and recognized 
the need to pass their knowledge and 
love for it to a younger generation, in 
hopes of instilling their passion for 
conservation and sportsmanship. 
They came up with a creed, guide- 
lines, and a formula they hoped 
would endure long after they were 
gone which would introduce young 
people to the outdoors and create a 
lasting legacy of a love of fishing. 

Being fly-fishermen, they chose to 
name their organization after a feath- 
er from a fowl found in India, which 
was often used as part of a fly lure for 
trout or salmon fishing. They called 
themselves the Brotherhood of the Jun- 
gle Cocks. An unusual name, admit- 
tedly, but the Brotherhood was and 
still is today very serious when it 

Perhaps it is more of the in- 
tangible lessons that parents 
and children take with them, 

which mokes a day with the 

Brotherhood so memorable. 

The sport of fishing teaches 
the advantage of being knowl- 
edgeable about what you ore 

trying to achieve, and how 

preparation often is key to 
success. It teaches that perse- 
verance and patience are toots 

which will assist you in life. 

comes to teaching today's youth all 
the facets of fishing, including stew- 
ardship of the planet. Conservation, 
they felt, is a large part of what makes 
a fisherman a sportsman. 

Today's kids may think that, with 
all the global warming headlines. 

VCU graduate student Matt Beckwith 
shows a youngster how to use a Secchi 
disk to measure water clarity. 


A smile often speaks as loudly as words 
when it comes to a prized catch. 

stewardship and protection of natu- 
ral resources are rather recent con- 
cerns. But true sportsmen and 
women have always policed and 
protected the environment with 
whatever means they had necessary 
whenever they saw their sport threat- 

Teaching Young Anglers 

The Virginia Chapter of the Brother- 
hood (or, BOJC) meets every May at 
Camp Brady Saunders in Goochland 
County. The entire day is organized 
for children and parents to keep kids 
attentive and occupied. It ends with a 
ceremonial campfire and raffle. 

Billy Pearsall of Richmond, who 
has been president of the Virginia 
Chapter since 1994, explained why 
he has remained active in this worth- 
while organizahon. "\ enjoy teaching, 
especially children. Fly-fishing is my 
passion, so teaching [children] is a 
perfect avenue for me." 

According to Pearsall, the Broth- 
erhood's name, "...has raised a few 
eyebrows, but [people's] interest is 
evident." Evidently so; the organiza- 
tion has grown from its parent chap- 
ter in Maryland to five other states, 
including Virginia, underscoring its 
serious intentions. One only needs to 
read the organization's creed to real- 
ize the devotion its members have to 
both youth and the enviromnent. 

"Fishology" could be the proper 
term, or the central theme, describing 
the organization's annual meeting. 
Child and parent learn about differ- 
ent baits, how to tie a fly, proper cast- 
ing techniques, fishing safety, and 
fish habitat. 

One of the highlights of the day 
for adults and children alike is the 
program by Dr. Edward Crawford of 
Virginia Commonwealth University 
and his graduate students. Dr. Craw- 
ford has the unique ability to hold 
everyone's attention when talking 
about aquatic liabitats, and the rela- 
tionship between terrestrial and 
aquatic environments. As Dr. Craw- 

ford put it, "I think the hands-on ac- 
tivities, in a field setting, really help 
kids and adults alike gain a better un- 
derstanding of the concepts we are 
trying to convey. I hope the knowl- 
edge gained from the program expe- 
rience leads to a better understand- 
ing of aquatic environments. That 
will hopefully lead to an appreciation 
for and foster a sense of stewardship 
toward these ecosystems." 

Perhaps it is more of the intangible 
lessons tliat parents and children take 
with them, which make a day with 
the Brotherhood so memorable. The 
sport of fishing teaches the advan- 
tage of being kiiowledgeable about 
what you are trying to acliieve, and 
how preparation often is key to suc- 
cess. It teaches that perseveraiice and 
patience are tools which will assist 
you in life. 

As Ed Deiss, a father who has at- 
tended these outings for the past four 
years, stated, "I won't soon forget the 
first year my son and I went and what 
I witnessed. All day he was trying to 
catch a fish and not having much suc- 

Morgan Rawls (R), also a VCU graduate student, teaches a young attendee how 
to use an Aqua Scope to view life underwater. 

MAY 2009 

cess. I saw in him something I had 
not seen before in that he spent hours 
trying to catch a fish . . . baiting and 
re-baiting hooks and casting and 
casting and casting . . . and he finally 
caught one. I had not seen the pa- 
tience and perseverance in him until 
that day, and it is one of the reasons I 
keep coming back." 

The chance for father, son, or 
daughter to spend time building 
life's memories together is truly qual- 
ity time. Again, Ed Deiss: "We keep 
coming back because I want to have 
this impressionable memory with 
my kids, and fishing affords time free 
from distractions, to talk, share, 
learn, and just be together. I learned 
from my father that it sure is hard to 
have quality time, if you don't have 
quantity time." 

It is never too early to learn how to 
fish and make this event a family af- 
fair. The Leathers family has been 
coming here for about six years. 
Candy Leathers, mother of son Kyle, 
12, and daughter Amber, 8, offered 
this testimonial: "There are a number 
of excellent presentations, including 
fly-tying for the beginner and ad- 
vanced. The highlight for our family 
is the catered dinner and raffle prize 
drawing at the end of the day The 
kids are so excited during the raffle as 
they go up to the prize table and pick 
out a nice prize. Kyle likes the fish- 
ing. Amber says she likes having fun 
with her dad. It has become a tradi- 
tion to come to the BOJC event." 

If part of being a parent is teaching 
your children the attitudes and skills 
which will guide them through life 
and prepare them for both the disap- 
pointments and triumphs which Ue 
ahead, teaching them the intricacies 
of fishing is a good way to start. And 
if creating lasting memories for your 
children is part of the legacy you 
hope to leave behind, participating in 
a program with the BOJC is a good 
place to start. 

Ed Deiss put it best when asked 
what he and his children have been 
able to learn from attending this pro- 
gram, "I reference this day when it 
comes to Will and Rachel supporting 
each other. Reminding them of this 
day has made me appreciate the time 

Members of the Brottierhood teacti ttie art of tying flies to a captive audience, wtio 
put ttieir new sl<iUs to good use (below). 

we had together, how proud I was of 
them, the memorable conversations 
without any deadlines or other 
agendas, and how much we look 
forward to doing it all over again 
next year. The Saturday before 
Mother's Day in 2009, 1 know exact- 
ly where we will be." D 

Clarl<e C. Jones is a freelance writer who 
spends his spare time with his black lab, 
Luke, hunting up good stories. He can be 
reached at 

Editor's Note: 

Billy Pearsall, President of the BOJC, can 

be reached 






r r'^. 



future hunting 



land preservation. 

English colonists came to Virginia 
fleeing a broad range of restric- 
tive or prejudicial systems, rang- 
ing from religious persecution to eco- 
nomic stagnation to an ingrained aris- 
tocracy which had since the Dark 
Ages withheld for itself the use of nat- 
ural resources. This last unilateral re- 
tention included the Old World's 

wild animals and the royal preserves 
they inhabited. 

As the European population spi- 
raled upward with the advent of 
agricultural feudalism, the vast 
forests and fertile plains of the conti- 
nent were quickly exhausted of trees 
and game under increased pressure 
for human sustenance. Only in the 
protected lands surrounding the 
liege's stronghold could ecosystems 
be found that reflected, albeit on a 
much reduced scale, the lushness 
that once characterized primordial 
Europe. From their opulent fortifica- 
tions, built and supported by the 
labor of their own serfs, the feudal 
lords and ladies would at times have 
occasion to saunter off on a hunt, 
their extensive procession of atten- 
dants, gamesmen, houndsmen, 
callers, bearers, and soldiery in tow. 

The starving peasantry of the 
Middle Ages occasionally made des- 
perate forays into the royal hunting 
preserves when their allotted rations 
of tubers and grains were exhausted, 
but the nobility's monopoly over 
wild game and wilderness areas was 
explicit, sincere, and pitilessly 
enforced. To quell possible 
thoughts of insurrection, peas- 

ants were everywhere forbidden to 
own swords, spears or flails (or, later, 
firearms; it was this tyrannical domi- 
nation that encouraged the enshrine- 
ment of the Second Amendment to 
the U.S. Constitution). As well as 
being drafted to serve as unpaid bush 
beaters and game cleaners for noble 
hunters, the serfs were savagely rep- 
rimanded if caught poaching their 
lord's game animals. Penalties regu- 
larly included blinding, castration, 
and death by exposure or equally in- 
humane methods. 

Because of the gross injustices of 
the Old World division between 
hunters and non-hunters, hunting in 
America began and to some extent 
continues as an unheralded demo- 
cratic exercise, an opportunity to live 
off the fat of the land like no working- 
class European ever could, or can to 
this day. As aristocratic hunting prac- 
tices ossified in elaborate courtly cus- 
tom of the time, the hunting initiative 
among the dispossessed peasantry 
became associated with freedom, lib- 
erty, and honest rebellion. For the Eu- 
ropean poacher, as for the early 
American settler and all the world's 
peoples who depended for at least 
part of their nourishment upon the 

As trees fall to the maw of industrial machines, important habitat is lost for wild game 
and other forest dwellers. 


beasts of the wild wood, the purpose 
of hunting was simple, honorable, 
and unquestioned — meat. 

Fast Forward 

The domestication of the North 
American continent has proceeded 
apace for four hundred years, and 
today Virginia's viable wildlife habi- 
tat is limited to public lands and to 
those private properties fortunate 
enough to have owners interested in 
providing undeveloped acreage for 
wildlife survival. As is the case with 
federal habitat protection fimded by 
duck stamps and taxes on firearms, 
ammunition, and related items, it is 
primarily hunters who have steppeci 
forward to offer our remaining 
wildlife a place to live. 

At the risk of stating the obvious, 
the chief threat to existing wildlife 
habitat held in private hands is de- 
struction and fragmentation brought 
on by development — residential, 
commercial, and industrial. When 
the woods have been clearcut and 
paved over, when the fielcis are solci 
off and houses planted on their wast- 
ed fertility, they are lost forever to the 
animals that once lived there. Backed 

Hunt dubs donate easements 
because their members want to 

permanently protect wUdb'fe 
habitat and the various improve- 
ments— food plots, tree plant- 
ings, ponds, vegetated stream- 
bonks, hunting cabins — that they 
have often invested a great deal 
of time and money in. 

Growth in Winchester has expanded rapidly into areas previously forested and 
farmed. Here commercial development encroaches upon an apple orchard. 

MAY 2009 

into increasingly isolated pockets of 
habitat, species dependent upon 
large, intact swaths of land — such as 
bears and wood warblers — wink out 
one by one, leaving behind a razed 
landscape of highways, suburbs, and 
shopping malls. 

We are a nation founded on indi- 
vidual liberty based on the wise use 
of our natural world, and while few 
of us any longer make a living solely 
from the earth, the retention of our 
hunting heritage is absolutely neces- 
sary to the continuing existence of 
privately-owned wildlife habitat. Al- 
. lowing the remnants of healthy 
wildlife habitat to be devoured in the 
insatiable maw of development is a 
transgression of the highest order. 
Those who take positive steps to pre- 
serve the existence of our fellow crea- 
tiires take an honorable, indeed patri- 
otic, stand in favor of a glorious hunt- 
ing heritage which still offers us an 
unparalleled intimacy with the living 

Coming to Grips 
with Habitat Preservation 

Many farmers and other large 
landowners feel the eventual devel- 
opment and loss of their land to be in- 
evitable. "You can't stop progress" is 
the hopeless mantra often resorted to. 
In fact, the premise that selling out to 
development is an inescapable fate 
for rural landowners is wholly false, 
thanks to an array of federal and state 
laws drafted specifically to preserve 
the public's rural and hunting her- 
itage. State income tax credits and 
federal income tax deductions are 
available to Virginia landowners 
who wish to keep their farmland and 
wildlife habitat open and productive. 
Conservation easements are the 
foremost means of permanently pro- 
tecting lands held by private citizens. 
Simply put, a conservation easement 
is a legal agreement between a 
landowner and a non-profit organi- 
zation or government entity that 
places limits on how the landowner's 
property will be used in the future. 
The landowner gives up the right to 
intensively develop his property be- 
cause he wants his farm or hunting 
(continued on pg. 13) 

1 1 

Predicted Urban Growth 

This map shows areas with the highest predicted risk of urban growth 
in Virginia based on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's 
Urban Growth Model. This model is part of the Virginia Conservation 
Lands Needs Assessment. The yellow, orange, and red zones represent 
areas of medium, medium-high, and high threat of being developed 
in the near future. While it does not necessarily mean that these 
areas will be completely urbanized, they are at higher risk of 
being developed. For more information on this model, see: 

Urban Growth Production 
Threat of Urbanization 

^^ High 

Albemarle County: A Profile of Rapid Change 

This pair of aerial photographs reveals a rapidly 
suburbanizing area southwest of Charlottesville. 
Jessups Lake is in the western portion of the 
picture and Old Lynchburg Road is just east of 
these images. In 2002 (top), the area is mostly 
upland forest with pasture surrounding the lake. 
Five years later in 2007 (bottom), several roads 
bisect the forest to service nearly 100 new hous- 
es. Further development is evident around the 
lake, with new roads and bare soil. 

Albemarle County has so much 
going for it that its current rate of 
open space being lost to development 
seems almost inevitable. Capitalizing 
upon the cultural mystique of the 
University of Virginia and Monticello 
and abetted by Charlottesville's re- 
cent ranking as the "best place to live 
in the U.S." by a number of national 
publications, real estate developers 
are busily facilitating the time-hon- 
ored tradition of loving a beautiful 
place to death. 

Property values have become so 
bloated that less wealthy natives are 
sometimes forced to relocate to Way- 
nesboro and eastern Augusta County 
and commute to their place of origin. 
The Highway 29 corridor of heavy 
commercial development has 
spawned leapfrogging suburban de- 
velopment northward to Greene 
County, while 1-64 access is rapidly 
transforming the western hamlets of 
Ivy and Crozet into pricey retirement 
destinations. Symptomatic of the real 
estate ideology is the debasement of 
Thomas Jefferson's name as an 
evocative marketing tool; the found- 
ing father most concerned with the 
dignity and liberty of independent 
rural freeholders is thus enlisted as 

unwilling agent to the ruin of his 
beloved agricultural homeland. 

With development continuing to 
spiral outward from the greater 
Charlottesville area, property tax as- 
sessments will continue to climb, en- 
dangering the ability of rural 
landowners to keep their farms intact 
and productive of agricultural goods 
and wildlife. Hunting traditions dis- 
appear as the county's old family 
farms are cordoned off as "ranch- 
ettes" owned by wealthy newcomers 
who are often antithetical to the hunt- 
ing tradition. 

But Albemarle landowners, both 
the long established and the newly 
transplanted, are recognizing the ex- 
quisite loveliness of their surround- 
ings and are becoming regional lead- 
ers in land preservation. Those wish- 
ing to see their farms, vineyards, and 
private estates preserved intact over 
the long term have an ally in profes- 
sional conservationists who stand 
ready to assist them in the drafting 
and implementation of conservation 
easements, easily the most produc- 
tive and satisfying means of perma- 
nently protecting the beautiful land- 
scapes still to be found in Albemarle 



habitat to always be available in its 
natural state. A conservation ease- 
ment is legally binding on all future 
landowners and will protect the land 
from inappropriate development 
and uses in perpetuity while allow- 
ing the landowner to retain the rights 
of private ownership. Because this 
donation benefits the general public, 
the state and federal governments 
offer tax benefits to those who pre- 
serve their land and its traditional 

Individual landowners donate 
conservation easements to preserve 
family legacies and the scenes of irre- 
placeable memories of years spent to- 
gether in the fields and forests. Hunt 
clubs donate easements because their 
members want to permanently pro- 
tect wildlife habitat and the various 
improvements — food plots, tree 
plantings, ponds, vegetated stream- 
banks, hunting cabins — that they 
have often invested a great deal of 
time and money in. Conservation 
easements are a proven means of pre- 
serving our heritage from the mind- 
less destruction that every year de- 
prives our descendants of the hunt- 
ing opportunities that we grew up 

A Necessary Sea Change 

The wildlife species of Virginia have 
proven to be remarkably adaptable, 
often possessed of sufficient resilien- 
cy to shape their lives around our ar- 
bitrary activities. The more generalist 
a species is, the more it is able to exist 
in a variety of conditions and poten- 
tialihes, the better its chances of navi- 
gating the broken fragments of habi- 
tat we have left them. Yet such is the 
extent of damage that has been 
wreaked on this continent: Land- 
owners must often commit to active 
management of their properties for 
game species to be plentiful. Meticu- 
lous easement drafting and profes- 
sional tax advice result in conserva- 
tion easements that can enhance 
hunting opportunities while assur- 
ing that the land remains protected 
from inappropriate development. 

With only 13.69% of Virginia's 
25.27 million acres "under protec- 
tion" (meaning under conservation 
easement or owned by federal, state. 

Conversion of farms into large housing tracts is changing the character and pace of 
life in Frederick County for both people and wild animals. 

or local government), the vast majori- 
ty of land in the state is privately 
owned and currently unprotected 
from development. Diverse forests 
contain the greatest terrestrial biodi- 
versity in the state, and as of 2004, pri- 
vate property owners held title to 
12,983,849 of the commonwealth's 
15,308,778 forested acres. 

Preservation of private properties 
that maintain functioning ecosys- 
tems must therefore be of primary 
importance to those who care about 
wildlife and the outdoors. If these 
landscapes are not preserved, we will 
become increasingly disassociated 
from the natural world, less genuine 
in our empathy, less involved in our 
responsibility, and finally altogether 
indifferent to the fate of wildlife and 
the wild earth. 

If land conversion rates remain as 
they are now, we will see made real 
what the map on page 12 so clearly 
depicts: the galloping extension of 
wave after wave of residential and 
commercial development linking 
city to city and suburb to suburb, 
with frenzied freeways spreading 
like spider veins and, the end result, a 
sprawling megalopolis with only a 
few detached pockets of green left 

But this is merely a prediction and 
assumes that present trends will con- 
tinue. It doesn't have to look like this, 
and the decision is up to us. D 

William H. Funk is a lifelong hunter living in 
Staunton who is a member of the Virginia State 
Bar and the Outdoor Writers Association of 
America. He has previously written articles 
about zoildlife, wilderness, and conservation for 
Virginia Wildlife and may be contacted at 

A fuller explanation of how the easement 
process operates in Virginia may be found 
in the Nov. 2008 issue of Virginia Wildlife 
or at 


Department of Conservation and 
Recreation, Land Conservation / land_ 
conservation / index. shtml 

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 

Department of Forestry 
forest-ownership, shtml 

Conservation Partners, LLC 

MAY 2009 




story and photos 
by Marie Majarov 

The tale of the charming, 
azure-colored, eastern blue- 
bird, Sialia sialis, with its rich 
red breast, crisp white underparts 
and lilting song, is one of remarkable 
conservation effort and success. 

Eastern bluebirds, and their fel- 
low mountain and western species, 
are found only in North America. 
Early colonists dubbed them blue 
robins, a not unreasonable identifica- 
tion as both robins and bluebirds are 
thrushes, Tiirdidae, having long legs, 
short narrow bills for grasping prey, 
and keen eyes for dropping from 
perches to capture insects — their pri- 
mary food source. 

Weighing just over one ounce, 
bluebirds interestingly have no blue 
pigment; their dazzling color is the 
result of light waves scattered 
through distinctively structured 
feathers. Males are vibrantly colored, 
advantageous during mating, while 
the female's drab dress seems to af- 
ford busy moms less visibility to 
predators. Young have the striped 
breast commonly seen in other 

Bliiehiifl Existence 

Preferring open habitats with scat- 
tered trees and shrubs, bluebirds 
thrived as early settlers cleared 
fields for farming. Secondary cavity- 
nesters, bluebirds chose abandoned 

This bluebird chick offers a close-up view of his new metal band. 

woodpecker holes, natural cavities in 
wooden fence posts, and decaying 
old tree limbs. Population numbers 
soared, before plummeting perilous- 
ly by as much as 90 percent in the late 
1800s and throughout most of the 
twentieth century. 

Multiple factors coalesced to 
cause this decline. Quickly proliferat- 

ing European starlings and Old 
World house sparrows, imported for 
sentimental and misguided conser- 
vation motives, aggressively invad- 
ed and occupied available nest-cavi- 
ties. Metal fenceposts replaced 
wooden ones. Pesticides tainted in- 
sects upon which bluebirds fed. And 
finally, between 1930 and 1960 dead 
wood and decaying trees were 

„^^e6rueV,^^^^,_^ ^^^^(^^.fe.c'. 

-Henry DavidThoreau 

Both mate and female bluebirds are active in feeding the young. 

cleared at record rates by newly in- 
vented gas-powered chainsaws, 
eliminating many homey woodpeck- 
er-excavated cavities. While a diffi- 
cult era for woodpeckers and other 
native cavity-nesting birds (tree 
swallows, house wrens, tufted tit- 
mice, and Carolina chickadees), it 
was devastating for the mild-man- 
nered little bluebird. 

Help came. The North American 
Bluebird Society (NABS), the 
Transcontinental Bluebird Trail net- 
work, and state organizations like the 
Virginia Bluebird Society (VBS) or- 

ganized to address the challenge of 
saving the beloved bird. Countless 
individuals and community organi- 
zations such as the boy scouts con- 
structed wooden nest boxes to repli- 
cate natural homes. Trails of multiple 
boxes soon meandered through 
fields, open woodlands, even golf 
courses. In the 1980s, bluebird popu- 
lation numbers finally began to in- 
crease slowly but steadily. 

Right: Bluebirds lay clutches of 4 or 5 
delicate blue eggs in nests of intricately 
woven fine grasses. 

A 8|)eeial 

The 110-box Shenandoah Audubon 
Blandy Bluebird Trail (SABBT) is op- 
erated solely by volunteers and nes- 
tled into the picturesciue, low rolling 
hills of the 700-acre State Arboretum 
of Virginia, home to the University of 
Virginia's research field station, the 
historic Blandy Experimental Farm in 
Clarke County. This trail, established 
in 1994, is a shining example of pro- 
viding habitat, education, and re- 
search appropriate to effectively pro- 
mote the recovery of eastern blue- 
birds and other native cavity-nesters 
in Virginia. 

Kaycee Lichliter and Greg Baruffi, 
avid birders well schooled in or- 
nithology and environmental sci- 
ence, took on the role of trail coordi- 
nators in 2004, developing a compre- 
hensive protocol for data collection 
and training citizen-scientist moni- 
tors. Presently, Kaycee works tireless- 
ly with a close-kiiit team of 50 indi- 
viduals who monitor each trail box 
weekly during breeding season, from 
late Febmary until early September. 

Nesting materials identify box res- 
idents. Bluebirds build smooth, intri- 
cate nests from dried grasses for 
clutches of 4 to 5 delicate, pale blue 
eggs. Chickadees lay tiny red-speck- 
led eggs in moss nest-cups; tree swal- 
lows choose fluffy feathers to protect 
snow-white eggs; and lively house 
wrens prefer a more ramshackle col- 

MAY 2009 



Enthusiastic students regularly monitor 
the "Greg Barujfi Bluebird Trail. " 

Bluebird nrrail n 

Whispers and excitement resonate through 
Timber Ridge School, a Licensed residential 
treatment and accredited educational pro- 
gram serving adolescent boys with a histo- 
ry of serious emotional, learning, and be- 
havioral difficulties. 

"Yippee! The eggs in box 2 are hatching 
this morning ... white eggs in box 6 ... a 
tree swallow is nest building in box 8!" Oh, 
the pride a responsible bluebird trail moni- 
tor feels! 

Greg Baruffi, President of the Shenan- 
doah Audubon Society, four years SABBT 
co-coordinator with Kaycee Lichliter, and 
Timber Ridge wood working instructor, con- 
structed 10 nest boxes with 'his boys' and 
arranged a bluebird trail on the school's 
beautiful 210-acre campus west of Win- 
chester. Emanating a love of bluebirds and 
all wildlife, "Baruffi," as his boys called 
him, ". . . made a tremendous impact on his 
students, as they did likewise on him," said 
Kaycee, who now oversees the trail opera- 
tion. Gifts of nature can be powerfully ther- 

On December 18, 2007, Greg tragically 
lost his life in a motor vehicle accident. He 
is deeply missed at Timber Ridge, on the 
SABBT, and throughout the Winchester 
area. The boys held a heartfelt service for 
their teacher and maintain the "Greg Baruf- 
fi Bluebird Trail" in his honor. Through 
bluebird conservation, outreach, and edu- 

L cation these boys were touched deeply and 
are more firmly on the path to becoming 
not only productive members of society, 


lection of sticks for their pinkish eggs 
and build frequent dummy nests that 
take up precious box space. 

The season is busy; bluebirds usu- 
ally have 2 or 3 broods each year. 
Nests are not removed after chicks 
fledge, so second broods can be 
quickly started in the same nest. Each 
box is regularly inspected for dam- 
age, wear, and predation. Raccoons 
and black rat snakes are common 
predators of bluebird eggs in Vir- 
ginia. Antagonistic house sparrows, 
as well as petite native house wrens, 
will all too frequently pierce and de- 
stroy bluebird eggs in a self-serving 
attempt to usurp potential nest sites 
for their own species. 

Kaycee meticulously calculates 
what she calls the 'critical nesting pe- 
riod' when bluebird chicks are active 
and could easily fledge prematurely, 
greatly decreasing their chances for 
survival. Boxes are not opened for 
monitoring during this 14-day time 

Work proceeds under the re- 
quired Federal Banding and Virginia 
Scientific Collection permits issued 
to the VBS, which vigilantly protect 
wildlife captured and released dur- 
ing research. (It is a violation of feder- 
al and state statutes to handle any 
non-game birds without appropriate 
permits and / or licensed wildlife pro- 
fessional supervision.) Master Ban- 

Charles Clevenger, who in 1994 first 
established the SABBT with Colonel Sam 
Patten, Ret., continues to volunteer and 
regularly monitor with Kaycee. 

der Kaycee uses the 'banding win- 
dow' of the 8 to 12 days after hatching 
to fit chicks with uniquely numbered 
metal bands around their right tar- 
sus, and colored bands on the left tar- 
sus. Each season is indicated by a dif- 
ferent color band. Measurements of 
mass, wing cord, and tarsus length 
are noted before each chick is careful- 
ly placed back in the nest with newly 
banded feet tucked under its body. 
Colored bands can be easily seen 
with binoculars and greatly facilitate 
the identification of birds in the field. 


I >'' 1,1' >.>• .*' .» 


Measurements of tarsus length, wing cord, and mass are carefully recorded at bond- 
ing time. Here tarsus length is measured. 


Removing chicks for banding must be 
done very carefully to prevent premature 

Such enables observations that will 
increase our understanding of blue- 
bird behavioral patterns and migra- 
tory habits. 

Notes on nest completion, first 
egg date, number of eggs and hatch- 
es, coloration, hatching dates, fledge 
date, and number fledged are record- 
ed in precise detail by the SABBT 
team. Data are submitted yearly to 
NABS, VBS, the Cornell Lab of Or- 
nithology's NestWatch in Ithaca, NY, 
and the U.S. Geological Survey, 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 

Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, 
Maryland. By cataloguing citizen-sci- 
entist observations of avian life histo- 
ry traits, researchers are better 
equipped to understand such issues 
as productivity and survivorship, site 
fidelity and migration, first egg dates 
in relation to climate change, and 
habitat needs. The DGIF also utilizes 
part of the trail's data to enlarge the 
Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information 
Service database, which facilitates in- 
formed environmental decisions re- 
garding wildlife conservation. 

Virginia is on the northern fringes 
of the bluebirds' wintering territory. 
Many spend the winter here, fre- 
quently seeking protection from cold 
and stormy conditions in nest boxes, 
while others head unknown dis- 
tances south. From late September to 
early November, some bluebirds 
from more northern climes fly south, 
joining our year-round residents to 
wait out the winter season. Wintering 
as far north as possible provides early 
access to highly sought-after breed- 
ing territories in the spring. 

A Continuing:; l*iHK»ess 

Bluebird trails, backyard bluebird 
boxes, and devoted volimteers have 
engendered unprecedented success 
in enabling the bluebird to begin 
thriving again in Virginia. Kaycee 

Tree swallows use fluffy feathers to line 
their nests; their eggs are pure white. 

MAY 2009 

Deeply speckled chickadee eggs are placed 
in nests of moss and soft bits of feathers. 

proudly reports 225 bluebirds suc- 
cessfully fledged from the SABBT in 
2008. The VBS reports a 2007 total of 
11,088 fledglings across the common- 
wealth. In the larger scheme, moni- 
toring and protecting the bluebird 
population also yields vital collateral 
information concerning numerous 
other bircis and wildlife. 

Get involved: www.virginiablue- has information on build- 
ing bluebird boxes, placing them in 
advantageous locations, and moni- 
toring; grants are available for trails 
on public lands. Berries from plant- 
ings such as holly, dogwood, bayber- 
ry, winterberry, serviceberry, 
hawthorn, sumac, privet inkberry, 
and Virginia creeper are winter foods 
much appreciated by hungry blue- 
birds when insects are scarce. You, 
too, can help save Virginia's blue- 
birds. D 

Marie and Milan Majarov (, are clinical psychologists, na- 
ture enthusiasts, and Virginia Outdoor 
Writers Association members. They mahi- 
tain a bluebird trail and butterfly garden at 
their Winchester home. 

For More Information 

Captivating Bluebirds: Exceptional lin- 
ages and Observations, by Stan Tekiela. 
Published by Adventure Publica- 
tions, Inc. 2008. 

Wild Bird Guides: Eastern Bluebird, by 
Gary Ritchison. Published by Stack- 
pole Books, 2000. 

Web Resources: 

North American Bluebird Society 

Bluebird Nestbox Specifications / east- 

Virginia Bluebird Society 

The University of Virginia's Blandy 
Experimental Farm 
State Arboretum of Virginia, Boy ce / 

Timber Ridge School / 

Frog Egg Mass 


story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

^rm mong the most fascinating 
^f*m life cycles in the world of 
' t wildlife are those of the am- 
phibians; not only fascinating but rel- 
atively short, making observation 
possible from beginning to end. Am- 
phibian comes from the Greek word, 
"amphibios," meaning "dovible life." 
It refers to the fact that amphibians 
begin life as aquatic creatures with 
gills and metamorphose into air- 
breathing animals with lungs. Am- 
phibians include salamanders, frogs, 
and toads. Most breed during spring, 
although a few breed in early fall; 
most also lay eggs in strands, clus- 
ters, or singly, which attach to sub- 
merged vegetation or other under- 
water debris. Exceptions include 
salamanders of the Plethodon genus 
and the Aneides genus that remain 
on land and lay their eggs terrestrial- 
ly, or subterranean, in underground 
cavities, in decaying logs, or in moist 
rock crevices. The eggs hatch into lar- 
vae — in the case of salamanders, or 
tadpoles — in the case of frogs and 
toads. After a time, they change into 
air-breathing adults that can hop, 
crawl, and swim. 

To complete their life cycle, am- 
phibians depend upon a water 
source: ponds, marshes, swamps, 
and streams, or areas adjacent to 
them. However, some species rely on 
vernal, or spring, pools that are shal- 
low and hold water for only a short 
time. Normally hard-bottomed with 
no outlet for runoff, they may only be 
a few inches deep. They provide 
breeding habitat for certain amphib- 
ians that seldom breed anywhere 

else. Biologists refer to these species 
as 'obligates', because they are bound 
or obligated to certain types of pools 
in order to breed successfully. Egg- 
laying, hatching, and transformation 
have to be completed in such waters 
within three to six months. 

Those that breed in more perma- 
nent waters have more time to spawn 
and have their eggs develop, of 
course, while those that depend on 
vernal pools must metamorphose 
from egg to tadpole to young adult 
much more quickly, before the pools 
dry up. Sometimes a late freeze will 
kill the eggs and larvae of early 
breeders. As weather warms and rain 
subsides, the pools dry up, shorten- 
ing the season, which may mean little 
or no reproductive success by late 
breeders. The result is wide fluctua- 
tions in the populations of affected 
species from year to year. 

Barking Treefrog 

(Hyln gratiosa) 

This is the largest of Virginia's 
frogs, ranging in size from 2 to 
2/4 inches, and found in the 
southeastern part of the 

Barking Treefrog 

state. It is a stocky frog with thick, 
leathery, rough skin covered with lit- 
tle bumps. It has a large head anci 
hands that have big disks on the fin- 
gertips for gripping. It varies in col- 


lid! Live t 





sJSi^f ^^ 


Vernal Pool 

Little Grass Frog 

ors from bright yellow-green to dark 
green to various shades of brown, 
spotted with brown, white, and yel- 

Its call is a sharp "doonk" or 
"toonk," and from a distance com- 
bined calls are likened to the barking 
or baying of dogs. Primarily noctur- 
nal, barking treefrogs inhabit tree 
tops during the warm months, but 
during dry periods and winter they 
will come ciown to burrow in the 
ground under the roots of trees, 
shrubs, or clumps of grass. 

Breeding takes place from March 
through August. Eggs are laid usual- 
ly after a heavy rain, and they depend 
heavily on the resultant, ephemeral 
pools. Females deposit about 2,000 

Little Grass Frog 

(Pscmiacns ocularis) 

The smallest of North American 
frogs is found in the southeast comer 
of Virginia's Coastal Plain and meas- 
ures only Vib to Ys inches. Its base col- 
ors vary from tan, brown, gray green, 
or even pinkish, with a white or yel- 
lowish chest. It has dark lines 
through the eye and along the sides, 
with a dark band down its back from 
between the eyes to the rear. 

The little grass frog's call is a high, 
shrill insect-like "set-see, set 
see," which is likened to the 

tinkling of glass or a large chorus of 
crickets. It lives and breeds in wet, 
grassy areas around ponds, ditches, 
bogs, and wooded swamps, as well 
as the all-important spring or venial 
pool. Here it climbs abovit on vegeta- 
tion, seldom going higher tlian a foot 
or two above the ground. It feeds on 
small insects, and while it is mainly 
nocturnal, it is often active during the 
day, especially in swales and wet, 
open fields. 

Breeding occurs in January and 
February, resvilting in about 100 
cream-and-brown-cok^red eggs. 

Mountain Chorus Frog 

(Psci idacris bracln/plhvui ) 

A small frog of 1 to V/i inches, it is 
olive-brown to green in color and has 
back-to-back, crescent-shaped dark 
stripes wliich often touch to form an 
irregular "X." The belly is yellowish 
and there are broad lateral stripes 
through the eye to the groin area. 

Mountain Chorus Frog 

Its voice is a rapid series of high- 
pitched squeals, usually uttered dur- 
ing breeding from February to April. 
The mountain chorus frog inltabits 
movHitain woodlands, mainly on 
forested slopes and ridges at eleva- 
tions of at least 3,500 feet. Breeding 
takes place in shallow pools in or at 
the edges of forests, or in ditches, 
streamside pools, or pools fed by 

MAY 2009 

spring seeps. The eggs are laid in 
masses of 10 to 50, which attach to 
vegetation until they hatch into tad- 
poles in about eight weeks. It is main- 
ly a nocturnal species and is found all 
along the Appalachians. 

Carpenter Frog 

(Lithobates virgatipes) 

This frog is often called the sphag- 
num frog because it is associated 
with the sphagnum bogs found in 
southeastern Virginia, where it lives. 
The carpenter frog measures 1% to 
nearly 3 inches long. Its colors are: 
brownish-green with yellow or gold- 
en-brown stripes down its back, with 
dark spots and marks. It has a white 
to yellow underside. 

Its call is described as "pu-tunk, 
pu-tunk, pu-tunk," double-rapping 
notes that are likened to two carpen- 
ters hammering nails in close 
rhythm. Large choruses sound like 
many carpenters hammering away. 

In addition to sphagnum moss, 
carpenter frogs are also found in 
emergent or grassy vegetation 
around old ponds, swamps, swales, 
and canals full of brown-stained, 
acidic waters. It is seldom found far 
from water. Breeding begins in April, 
with eggs attaching to vegetation, 
and it takes a year for tadpoles to de- 
velop into adults. 

Eastern Spadefoot 

( Scaphiopus holbrookii) 

This is the only spadefoot occurring 
east of the Mississippi. It is found 
throughout most of Virginia, but not 
in highland areas. While it looks like 
one, it is not a true toad. Its base color 
includes variations of olive, brown, 
or black, with two irregular light 
lines down its back and a 
white to gray underside 
with reddish tubercles scat- 
tered about. 

The eastern spadefoot 
measures 1)4 to 3/2 inches. It has 
large, protruding eyes with cat-like 
vertical pupils. Being a nocturnal 
species, these eyes collect more light 
and enable it to see especially well at 
night. Its feet are hard with horny 
growths for digging, especially in the 
rear. It can dig a burrow quickly, 
burrowing and sinking backward 
out of sight. It favors the forests 
of the southeast where soil is 

Carpenter Frog 

loose, sandy or gravelly. It is seldom 
seen and lives mainly in burrows, 
often quite deep. It feeds on flies and 
spiders. The voice is a sharp, nasal, 
low-pitched grunt much like the call 
of a young crow. 


Eastern Spadefoot 




Spadefoots breed beginning in 
March, right after rains fill low spots 
and form vernal pools. The spadefoot 
has to work faster than other species 
and lay eggs before the pools dry up. 
The process often takes place in one 
night. Eggs are laid in gelatinous 
bands and attach to vegetation. 

Eastern Tiger Salamander 

(Ambystoma tigriuum) 

This is the largest land-dwelling sala- 
mander, measuring 6 to 13^2 inches. 
Its body is stout, fleshy, and slimy 
with a broad head, rouncied snout, 
wide mouth, and small, widely- 
spaced eyes. Its basic color is dull 
black to deep brown with an olive- 
yellow belly and irregular large spots 
of yellowish-olive or yellowish- 

Tiger salamanders inhabit pine 
barrens, mountain woodlands, and 
wet meadows where they can bur- 
row. They also live near marsh edges 
and other low, wet areas where they 
hide under vegetation and other de- 
bris. Tiger salamanders are voracious 
feeders, eating earthworms, insects, 
insect larvae, fish eggs, small cray- 
fish, small frogs, tadpoles, and other 

It is an early spring breeder in fish- 
less ponds. The egg-laying process is 
triggered by rain, after which they 
congregate. Mating takes place in 

temporary pools, small 
ponds, and the backwa- 
ters of small streams or 
creeks. The eggs ad- 
here to submerged 
debris. Once hatched, 
the larvae are on their own. 
Transformation to adulthood 
takes place by July and August. 
There is an amphibious form, 
which has long, fern-like gills and 
remains in the water to live. 
Presently, breeding areas in Vir- 
ginia have been confirmed ii"i the 
George Washington National For- 
est and a site in the Coastal Plain. 

Give 'Em a Break ,^- i 

Amphibians need a stress ^ 
break, especially during breed- 
ing season. Do your part to pre- 
serve water quality by twt apply- 
ing fertilizers and herbicides 
close to ponds, lakes, 
streams, and wetlands. 
Also critical to their sur- 
vival: Don't introduce 
any species — fish, rep- 
tiles, even other salamanders — 
to these bodies of water. D 

Spike Knuth is an avid naturalist and ivildlife 
artist. For over 30 years his artivork and writing 
have appeared in Virginia Wildlife. Spike is also a 
member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Associa- 

Tiger Salamander 
amphibious form 
and egg mass 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a 
regular feature that highlights Vir- 
ginia's Wildlife Action Plan, which is 
designed to unite natural resources 
agendes, sportsmen and women, con- 
servationists and citizens in a com- 
mon vision for the conservation of the 
Commonwealth's wildlife and habi- 
^^^^ tats in which they live. To learn 
more or to become involved 
th this program, visit: 

Tiger Salamander 

Sally Mills 

Bees, unlike humans, 

have a sound sense of 

their Ufe mission. 

-William Longgood 

by Sally Mills 

During a move to a small farm in 
the late '90s, I found myself 
staring down an impressive 
line-up of beeliives already in play. 
Their keeper, I soon discovered, had 
been carefully tending them for 
many years on this field in King & 
Queen County. At the time I had 
young children and, as he was a natu- 
ral-born teacher, he graciously of- 
fered to show us his bees anytime we 
wanted to explore with him. So 
began my journey into the magical 
world of the European honey bee 
(Apis iiicUifL'm). 

Those early explorations with the 
late Joe May soon led to introduc- 
tions with other beekeepers who, just 
like good hunting buddies, keep each 
other straight and always seem to 
find time to lend each other a hand. 
When Joe died suddenly one late De- 


Beekeeper Tom O'Neil of Powhatan 
plants a variety of bee-friendly sunflow- 
ers in his expansive gardens. 

cember day, I was thrust into a more 
active caretaker role with the bees 
and soon leaned on one of my new- 
found friends, Tom O'Neil, who 
agreed to serve as my mentor. 

Status Check 

Anyone paying close attention to the 
health of the planet is well aware that 
honey bees are in trouble and battling 

"A big problem for honey 
bees is this loss of habitat. 
Our suburbs are creating 
a big green desert for nec- 
tavores," Mangum said. 

a number of foes today: the Varroa 
and the tracheal mites, the intro- 
duced African honey bee, the contin- 
ued erosion of prime habitat and 
dwindling nectar sources, and more 
recently, the mysterious Colony Col- 
lapse Disorder (CCD). The plight of 
the honey bee has been elevated to 
more public discussion in recent 
years, thanks to documentaries on 



^M:^ . 

— . ■-«, , , . 1 !■■■ ■ "1 ^'-"~ " 


1 ^^^sfAv- 'iSsfVAViSfsvi^^tKim • 

/./gu/c/ go/c/ collects in a top-bar frame, from a hive system used by Dr. Mangum 
ii which allows easy access for study purposes. 

public television and features on net- 
work news, but much more attention 
and research are needed. 

Public interest is genuine, and I am 
otten asked by neighbors and friends, 
"So, how are the bees doing?" Not an 
easy question to answer 

What I discovered early on will be 
confirmed by any beekeeper 'worth 
his salt'. Studying bees is a life-long 
journey and one in which you end up 
with far more questions than an- 
swers. When it comes to honey bees, 
beekeepers will tell you the only con- 
stant is their innate ability to keep 
you guessing. 

"Bees clon't think. You never 
know what the bees are going to do." 
This was spoken in classic delivery, 
with just a hint of a smile, by Joe 
May — the lanky duck hunter and 
outdoorsman who had the softest of 
spots for the charming honey bee. 

Dr. Mangum checks the condition of honey bees in one of the observation frames in his research lab. 

MAY 2009 


Harvesting day entails lots of activities and the methodical transfer of frames of 
honeycomb to an extractor. 

Before frames can be removed, the bees have to be persuaded to leave teinpoiarily. 

Add to this shared wisdom the 
variables of weather brought on by 
changing precipitation patterns and 
the introductions of new pests and 
pesticides to fight them — now am- 
plified by the global movement of 
goods, especially foods and 
plants — and it's easy to see that re- 
searchers and beekeepers have a 
mountain of possibilities to consid- 
er for why things might go wrong 
on any given day. 

But beekeepers don't discourage 
easily, knowing what is at stake. Con- 
sider that one-third of our global 
food supply is made possible by pol- 
linators! Of that potent force, the 
honey bee surely does the heavy lift- 
ing — an estimated 80% of all pollina- 
tion performed by insects. Ensuring 
their health and viability is no trivial 

And while most of us are aware of 
their importance to agricultural 

crops, honey bees also play a crucial 
role in the success of forests, wet- 
lands, and wildlife. According to 
state apiarist Keith Tignor, honey 
bees are classified as 'generalist' pol- 
linators and aid in the reproduction 
and vitality of plants over a 12- 
square-mile radius of their nest! Tulip 
poplars, sourwood trees, and hollies 
are just some of the forest flora that 
benefit directly from their services. 
Such pollinating activities, Tignor re- 
minds me, translate to diversified 
plant life in meadows and wetlands 
which ultimately benefit all wildlife. 

Current Research 

We are fortunate in Virginia to have 
dedicated researchers close at hand. 
Dr. Wyatt A. Mangum has been 
studying honey bees for 40-some 
years and is recognized internation- 
ally for his research. He and his wife. 
Dr. Suzanne Sumner, teach applied 
mathematics at the University of 
Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. 
Mangum got hooked early, at the 
young age of 10. He is a long-time 
member of the Richmond Beekeep- 
ers Association and has written the 
monthly biology column in the Amer- 
ican Bee Journal for many years. Dr. 
Mangum studies honey bees at his 
apiaries in Virginia and North Caroli- 

Among his research interests is a 
dark brown parasite the size of a pin 
head, the Varroa mite, which has 
been confirmed in the U.S. since 1987. 
While unclear how it got here, the 
mite's simultaneous 
appearance in Flori- 
da and Wisconsin 
suggests transport 
within the country 
most likely by truck. 

Inside the hive, 
the mite bites the fe- 
male honey bee to 
draw hemolymph 
(blood), and in so doing, transmits to 
her a nasty virus. The mites also feed 
on developing bees growing in 
"brood" cells — the grow-out cham- 
bers for the eggs laid by the queen. 
The outcomes are several, but as de- 
scribed by Dr. Mangum, one can be a 
deformed wing on the newly 

Varroa mite, 
S. Bauer, ARS/USDA 



Using a hot blade, Jim Frazier of Roanoke Rapids, NC, removes the top layer of 
wax from a frame to allow removal of the honey inside. 

A centrifuge efficiently spins the honey out of many frames at one time. Cheese 
cloth is used to filter out loose wax before the honey is collected in a 5-gallon pail. 

hatched bee. This 'classic' symptom 
is the one most easily recognized, as 
bees with deformed wings cannot fly. 
"Instead, they leave the hive and lit- 
erally crawl to their deaths," he ex- 

Tenacious like a tick, the Varroa 
mite remains attached to the adult 
bees until some sort of intervention — 
such as a chemical treatment — is in- 
troduced into the hive. Until then, the 

MAY 2009 

mite population will flourish and, as 
borne out by many research hives, 
devastate the workers and eventual- 
ly kill the colony. Mangum suspects 
that other viruses also may be trans- 
mitted by this mite to the colony over 
time. He postulates that outside 
stresses, such as loss of favorable 
habitat and nectar-producing plants, 
compound the effects of the mite on 
an already weakened population. 

Bee-loved Plants 

A honey bee must visit 5 million 
flowers to produce just a single 
pint of honey! 

Here is a short list of nectar produc- 
ers that honey bees will thank you 
for: thistle, mustardseed, clover(s); 
dogwood, tulip poplar, honey lo- 
cust, sourwood, blackberry, cherry, 
other fruit trees. 

Even a planter box full of African 
basil, clovers, sweet pea, buck- 
wheat, or dwarf sunflowers on a 
balcony or patio would be a wel- 
come stop-over for a foraging 
honey bee. 

"A big problem for honey bees is 
this loss of habitat. Our suburbs are 
creating a big green desert for necta- 
vores," Mangum explained. 

And as you travel into more rural 
areas, land clearing and timber har- 
vesting at aggressive rates and at 
larger scales are magnifying the 
problem. Swaths of barren land force 
honey bees to fly even longer dis- 
tances to find food sources. Accord- 
ing to Dr. Mangum, "They are work- 
ing harder for less." That's saying a 
lot for a finy insect that was already 
accustomed to traveling up to five 
miles to forage a meal. 

The best development Dr. 
Mangum has witnessed in a long 
time? He is beginning to see evidence 
of bees surviving with the mite. In 
fact, he has devoted tremendous re- 
sources to this part of his research. On 
his farm, Mangum has engaged in 
methodical transfer of his research 
hives deeper and deeper into the 
woods behind his home in what he 
hopes will make the bees more re- 
silient naturally, as well as maintain 
their wild 'bee sense'. In fact, his Vir- 
ginia colonies have successfully car- 
ried on without any chemical treat- 
ment for the Varroa mite for four 

Mangum believes that pesti- 
cides — used in the surrounding envi- 
ronment and introduced into hives 
by beekeepers — are having both 
lethal and non-lethal effects on honey 


bees. Specifically, he is concerned 
about possible impacts on reproduc- 
tion. He implores new hobbyists, as 
well as professional beekeepers, not 
to experiment with chemicals but al- 
ways seek out the advice and treat- 
ments approved by the state apiarist. 
Mangum also cautions against the 
unnecessary movement of hives by 
beekeepers, which is very, very 
stressful on the bees. 

When not counting mites and 
monitoring hive behavior, Mangum 
makes time to study honey bee ge- 
netics — partly to understand what 
has caused wild bee and colony ex- 
tinctions of recent years. It's obvious 
he is most comfortable doing this on 
his Virginia farm, but he also travels 
to the far reaches of the globe to con- 
sult with other beekeepers. A lifelong 
researcher, he's curious to know 
what's next in store for this power- 
house pollinator. 

Getting Involved 

How much effort and expense are re- 
quired to keep bees at the hobbyist 
level? It is wise to start small and go 
through a full year of seasons before 
judging your long-term commit- 
ment. Beekeeping at the 2-hive level 
can be accomplished for a modest 
dollar investment ($200 per hive, or 

less if you find used equipment). The 
time required varies by season, but 
throughout much of the year you'll 
need to set aside less than an hour a 
week. During spring and fall, the 
hives need attention in the form of ex- 
pansion by supers, feeding, and pest 
control. And during the summer har- 
vest, plan to commit a full weekend 
to honey extraction, bottling, and 
clean-up. The rest of those 55°-plus 
days, you'll want to set aside plenty 
of loafing, or hive monitoring, time. 

Before you invest money in equip- 
ment, I suggest finding a beekeeper 
you might 'shadow', or attend a 
workshop — and learn what it takes 
to get up close and personal with a 
honey bee. If that goes well, invest in 
a good resource book and read it. You 
will soon be well on your way to 
knowing how and where to site your 
hives and begin with good habits — 
and therefore avoid self-induced 
problems with your hives. Also, 
check local ordinances where you 
live and adhere to any rules regard- 
ing hive placement and activity. Fi- 
nally, scout your neighborhood — up 
to several miles in all directions — to 
be sure your bees will have plenty of 
access to nectar sources. 

As with many hobbies, it's impor- 
tant to take the long view. Keeping 
two hives (vs. one) provides a bit of 

insurance that you won't lose every- 
thing if you make a costly mistake. If 
you do have a problem with a hive, 
you can easily lose the entire season 
and all honey production for the year, 
but as my hard-helmeted friends as- 
sure me, that's how you learn best. 

Virginia has a strong support net- 
work for up-and-coming beekeepers. 
By joining a local group, you will have 
access to current research as well as be 
aware of any trends, problems, and so- 
lutions offered by other beekeepers. 
But be forewarned: Tending to honey 
bees is addictive and, well, mighty 
sweet, n 

Editor Sally Mills has been tending bees for five 
years, thanks to the generous assistance of a few 
veteran beekeepers. 

Additional Resources 

• Beekeepniig for Dummies, by How- 
land Blackiston; 2001, Wiley Pub- 
lishing, Inc., IN. 

• The Queen Must Die, by William 
Longgood; 1985, W.W. Norton & 
Company, Inc., NY. 

• To find a local beekeeping group, 

• Virginia Department of Agricul- 
ture and Consumer Services, 

Honey bees and other insects account for the successful poUination of one-third of our fruits and vegetables, including apple 
trees (R), as well as a host of beautiful flowers. 



essay and photos by King Montgomery 

young girl, almost a teenager, 
walked into the restaurant 
oblivious to her mom holding 
open the door. They headed toward a 
table and sat down. The girl never 
once looked up or stopped moving 
her thumbs across the face of the elec- 
tronic device in her hands. 

Would she ever see the world 
around her, particularly the out- 
doors? Would she sit on a river bank 
or in a boat and cast a line with bait 
lure or fly to catch a fish? Would she 
grow to appreciate nature and care 
for its resources? I hope so. 

I worry that too many kids are en- 
slaved in an electronic fog of comput- 
ers, intricate games, cell phones, 
iPods, Blackberries, one device after 
another. It is up to us to introduce 
kids to the natural world instead, like 
the joys of being outside and fishing, 
where the living world surpasses the 
artificial one in its subtlety, sophisti- 
cation, and wholeness. 

In his seminal 2005 book. Last 
Child in the Woods: Saving Our Chil- 
dren from Nature-Deficit Disorder, 
Richard Louv warns of the severe de- 
cline in participation of youth in out- 
door activities. He links the lack of 
nature in the lives of children to such 
disturbing childhood trends as atten- 
tion-deficit disorders, obesity, and 

MAY 2009 

During research in which Louv in- 
terviewed over 3,000 children, the 
child's relationship — or non-relation- 
ship — with nature surfaced, and he 
was mortified at their near complete 
lack of interface with the natural 
world. The core of the affliction of our 
children is not just their addiction to 
electronic doo-dads but, according to 
Louv, "... society's relinquishment of 
green spaces to development, par- 
ents' exaggerated fears of natural 
(and human) predators, and the 
threats of lawsuits and vandalism 
that has prompted community offi- 
cials to forbid access to their land." 

Now is the time to take a young 
person to the nearest pond, river, lake 
or pier and teach him the basics of 
fishing. Your efforts will be rewarded 
with a well-rounded, environmental- 
ly conscious person. Follow the lead 
of one of my favorite outdoor writers, 
Ted Leeson, when he tells how it all 
began for him: 

"Thirty-five years ago, I toddled off to 

Turtle Creek with a cane pole and worms 

and returned with a six-inch smallmouth 

and a monkey on my back. I ate the bass 

and have been feeding the monkey ever 

since. " 

The Habit of Rivers (1994) 

A long-time contributor to Virginia Wildlife, 
King Montgomery does use a computer occa- 
sionally; contact him at 


Cooper students 

befriend an endangered 


essay and photos by Gail Brown 

With a face too broad, no 
lungs, bulging eyes, and a 
nemesis called "red- 
backed," you need all the 
friends you can get. Fortunately for 
the Shenandoah salamander (Pletlio- 
don Shenandoah), everyone at Hamp- 
ton's Cooper Elementary Magnet 
School for Technology (Cooper) is on 
his — or her — side. The students at 
Cooper have developed a big sis- 
ter/big brother relationship with this 
endangered, yet spunky, amphibian, 
and teacher Shirley Sypolt's 4-H En- 
vironmental Club is prepared to trav- 
el to Richmond to help get their little 
friend the recognition they believe it 
deserves. Their goal: work with their 
delegate, Jeion Ward, to convince the 
2010 General Assembly to name the 
Shenandoah salamander Virginia's 
official state amphibian. 

It all started five years ago when 
Sypolt's 4-H club received their Vir- 
ginia Naturally School banner. Each 
banner showcases a state emblem re- 
lating to the environment, and the 
banners are given to schools in recog- 
nition of their environmental stew- 
ardship efforts during the previous 
school year. 

That's the good news. The com- 
motion started after the banner was 
displayed and the kids became curi- 
ous about how and why state em- 
blems were selected. When they dis- 
covered Virginia has far fewer em- 
blems than neighboring states, civic 
pride — coupled with knowledge of 
Virginia's vast natural resources- 
led the students to feel, well, short- 
changed! And their search for an ad- 
ditional ambassador of what is wild 


Extensive research, field observations, and time on the Capitol Classroom Web site 
promote integration of science and civics. 

"Vote for Me" posters, campaign 
speeches, and a school-wide election 
help students understand how bills 
become laws. 

and unique to the Old Dominion 

Research, discussion, and com- 
promise led Sypolt's students to se- 
lect the Shenandoah Mountain sala- 
mander to represent our state. But 
after years of campaigning, followed 
by rejection in the halls of govern- 

Shenandoah St^iamanJet 









^ i \ yNaturally 

ment, the club had to accept the in- 
evitable — this amphibian would 
never be the state amphibian. 
Younger siblings continued the mis- 
sion, however, and today they be- 
lieve they have found a winner with 
a similar name. 

Further exploration led this 
group to the Shenandoah salaman- 
der, 12 centimeters of pluck and 
verve residing only on the north and 
northwestern talus slopes of The Pin- 
nacle, Hawksbill, and Stony Man 
mountains in Virginia's Shenandoah 
National Park. There, Plcthodon 
Shenandoah negotiates territorial dis- 
putes with the more aggressive red- 
backed salamander and, while 
forced into a stark and less desirable 
ecosystem, it's believed possible our 
endangered hero can live up to 25 

So here we have it: Young scien- 
tists persistently working around the 
hurdles faced by those who chal- 
lenge the status quo; an endangered 
amphibian endemic to Virginia; a 
state delegate willing to once again 
present a bill on the students' (and 
salamander's) behalf; and legislators 
perhaps questioning the value of 
something that hides in rocks and 
breathes through its skin. 

Can the kids convince the 2010 
General Assembly that this tiny, 
tenacious amphibian should join the 
brook trout, the cardinal, and the big- 
eared bat as another representative 
of Virginia's diverse wildlife? Will 
the adults look beneath the surface 
and keep an open mind as to what is 
and isn't beautiful? Sypolt's 4-H club 
certainly hopes so: They've made a 
great banner sketch. And they think 
a brown background should work 
just fine. D 

Gail Brown is a retired principal for Chesterfield 
County Public Schools. She is a lifelong learner and 
educator, and her teaching and administrative experi- 
ences in grades K-12 have taught her that project- 
based environmental programs teach science stan- 
dards, promote core values, and provide exciting edu- 
cational experiences for the entire community. 

DGIF Wildlife Diversity Biologist John Kleopfer shares information about amphibians. 
Cooper's outdoor classroom deck and wild areas provide opportunities for field work 
and observation. 

MAY 2009 



2009 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on the De- 
partment's Web site at www.HuntFish- or call 804-367-7800. 

May 2: Cliicf Charlie's Kids Fishing 
Day, Grottoes. 

May 8-10: Great Dismal Swamp Bird- 
ing Festival, Suffolk; 
northeast / greatdismalswamp / . 

May 9: International Migratory Bird 
Celebration, Chincoteague National 
Wildlife Refuge. 

May 15-17: Becoming an Outdoors- 
Woman®, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, 
Appomattox. Ages 18 and up. 

May 16: Spring Turkey season closes. 

May 16-22: National Safe Boating 

May 29-31: Mountain Lake Migratory 
Bird Festival, Pembroke; www.moun- 

June 5-7: Free Freshwater ami Saltwa- 
ter Fishing Days. 

June 13: Ladies' Day Shooting (Hand- 
gun or Shotgun) Clinics, Cavalier Rifle 
& Pistol Club; 9:00 a.m.-l:00 p.m. For 
reservations call (804) 370-7565 or e- 
mail H .Baskervi 1 

June 16: Smallmouth Fishing Work- 
shop, New River, Radford. 

June 18, 20, and 25: Lights, Camera, 
Action: Photograpliing Flowers in the 
Garden, with Lynda Richardson; 
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, 
Richmond, www.lewisginterorg. 

June 30: Float Fishing the James River, 

July 28: Flat Out Catfish Workshop I 
James River, Richmond. D 



a^ — 

by Beth Hester 

Animal & Sporting Artists in America 

F. Turner Renter, Jr. 

2008 The National Sporting Library 

in Middleburg, Virginia 

ISBN-13: 978-0-9792441-1-7 

880 pages, 2,384 artist biographies, 

418 illustrations, color plates 

Standard Edition in Slipcase 

Available through Red Fox Fine Art: 

F. Turner Renter, Jr. is a Virginia na- 
tive who grew up immersed in the 
rhythms of country life. Seasonal 
rounds of planting and harvesting, of 
hunting and fishing, the excitement 
of steeplechasing, the preparation of 
livestock for show; it's as if every as- 
pect of Turner's life eventually con- 
spired to assist him in the creation of 
Animal and Sp^orting Artists hi America, 
a singular achievement in the realm 
of American art history. Turner, who 
has been a collector and dealer of 
sporting art for over forty years, is 
Curator of Fine Arts at The National 
Sporting Library in Middleburg. He 
has also earned Level III shooting in- 
structor classification from The Na- 
tional Sporting Clays Association, 
and is the innkeeper /owner of Mid- 
dleburg's Red Fox Inn. His new book 
is the result of decades of extensive 
travel and painstaking research. 

Released in October 2008, this is 
the first, comprehensive reference 
work devoted to the American sport- 
ing landscape, and the painters, 
sculptors and printmakers who cap- 
tured and chronicled a particularly 
American way of life. Sporting art in 
America reflects umbilical ties to the 
mother country, and upholds certain 
English traditions, but Turner cham- 
pions the fact that American sporting 

art has a distinctive quality £ind reso- 

This sumptvious volume covers 
almost four hundred years of sport- 
ing and animal art. The artist biogra- 
phies are listed in alphabetical order, 
and among them you'll tind familiar 
names like John James Audubon, 
American Impressionist painter 
Childe Hassam, Thomas Eakins, 
Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, and 
Frederick Remington. The true 
breadth of scholarship, and also good 
humor, becomes startlingly appar- 
ent, when you notice that on page 
484, nestled among classic color 
plates of pointing setters, leaping 
trout, fishing creels and racing thor- 
oughbreds, is the infamous painting 
generally known to the layman as, 
'those poker-playing dogs,' but 
which is more accurately titled, 
'Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff' 
painted by Cassius Marcellus 
Coolidge in 1903. 

Some of the documented artists 
like Phillip Russell Goodwin created 
iconic American images familiar to 
generations through their appear- 
ance in print and marketing materi- 
als; Goodwin created the Winchester 
Arms cowboy, and his illustrations 
graced the pages of Outdoor Life and 
The Saturday Evening Post. Recipient 
of numerous commissions, Adalin 
Wichman of Kentucky created sculp- 
tures and paintings relating to thor- 
oughbred horse racing; she is known 
for her equine-tliemed frieze in the 
Lexington Public Library rotimda. 

Animal and Sporting Artists in 
America is a piece of serious scholar- 
ship, a place where heart and mind 
can connect to explore, as Turner puts 
it, "the relationship between art and 
country life." In addition to artist bi- 
ographies, there is an extensive bibli- 
ography that invites further study of 
the volume's featured topics. The 
book is a masterwork that will re- 
ward the reader many times over. D 



"You forgot to stop the paper." 

Lifetime Licenses 

Open the door to a lifetime of 

enjoyment in the great outdoors of 

Virginia with a lifetime freshwater 

fishing, hunting or trout license! It's an 

investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

or call (866) 72 1 -691 I. 


The Janies River Runoff 


From Iron Gate to Ft. Monroe 

July 11, 2009 

The James River has been called 
America's Founding River for the 
defining role it has played in our his- 
tory. On July 11, 2009, volunteers 
from across the Commonwealth will 
honor that history by "running" the 
James — the entire 340-mile length of 
the main stem — in one day, as a bene- 
fit for the James River Association 
(JRA), the non-profit group with the 
mission of preserving and protecting 
every mile of the James River water- 
shed. The JRA and its members invite 
you to join them as they celebrate and 
help support river restoration efforts 
at the same time. 

The Runoff Rundown will divide 
the river into individual sections of 10 
to 12 miles, and river runners or 
teams of runners will each paddle a 
section, so that the combined effort 
covers the entire James in a day. As 
part of their run, paddlers will enjoy a 
day on the river and will be encour- 
aged to seek pledges to benefit JRA. 

The organization is currently 
looking to enlist runners and run cap- 
tains at 
Additional information regarding 
participation can be found at the 
same site. '_ i 

Tliis report ivas contributed by JRA member, 

Above: 2009 Overall State Champions for the Virginia National Archery in the 
Schools Program Tournament, Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke, VA. 

Above: The Department is accepting applications for this year's Virginia Naturally 
school recognition program from May 1 until June 30. Criteria and applications can 
be found online, at First-year 
schools will receive a plaque, such as the one held here by Colleen Anders, 
Assistant Principal of Bettie Weaver Elementary School. Schools continuing in the 
program receive a pennant, shown online. For more information, contact Suzie 
alley at or (804) 367-0188. 

MAY 2009 


by Tom Guess 

Jt was one of those mornings 
when I noticed the sun shining 
tlirough the windows of our home at 
a little bit different angle. I stepped 
outside and noticed by the flurry of 
activity that the wildlife seemed to 
have renewed energy with the 
warmer temps. The heat reminded 
me how, when I was boy, I couldn't 
wait to hit a local body of water with 
my friends to do some fishing. 

We usually went to the Blackwa- 
ter or Nottoway or to a private farm 
pond; it really didn't matter as long as 
we were fishing somewhere. I re- 
member the countless hours I spent 
on one particular pond where the 
dam had broken numerous times, 
and the only thing keeping water in it 
was the hard work and construction 
of a nearby den of beavers. I think we 
knew there were no fish in that pond. 
Nevertheless, we fished throughout 
the long, hot summer days as if the 
pond had miraculously stocked itself 
the night before. 

I guess the point wasn't so much 
fishing as it was the fun we had brag- 
ging and dreaming about that one big 
bass that might strike our line, or the 
fact that we loved the water and took 
any opportunity we could to be near 
it, on it, or in it. 

One time my now brother-in-law 
and I planned a trip to the Nottoway 
River on a warm day. We were up 
with the sun, ready to "hit the river." 
Our first task was to go out to the 
garage and hurriedly find our most 
important equipment: fishing rods, 
tackle boxes, a cooler, and a bucket. 
We dusted off some old life jackets 
tucked in the rafters, grabbed some 
paddles and a line with some win- 
dow counter-weights for an anchor, 
and even grabbed a trolling motor 


Thinking Backl 

and battery sitting in the comer, just 
beckoning us to take them on our 

Our last task was to meet up with 
a friend to borrow his old aluminum 
canoe. Wow, just imagine — fishing 
from a 12-foot canoe on the Not- 
toway River with a trolling motor! 
Could it get much better? Once we 
had the canoe loaded, we picked up 
some night crawlers and snacks. 

We got to the river, loaded the 
boat, attached the motor, sat on our 
life jackets, and headed upstream to 
do some fishing. We caught quite a 
few that day: bluegills, brim, crappie, 
bass, and even a catfish or two. After 
our motor's battery died, we decided 
to drift downstream for a few more 
casts and swim to escape the gnats 
and the mid-day heat. 

As we departed for home, we 
talked about how it was the perfect 
day fishing and boating on the river 
... Or was it? 

Looking back, we were well 

equipped for our trip but could have 
done a few things differently. Techni- 
cally, we were in compliance with the 
law by having them on board, but it's 
always better to wear your life jacket. 

And by attaching a trolling 
motor to our friend's canoe, we 
turned it into a motorboat, meaning 
it needed appropriate certification 
and decals applied. By attaching a 
motor we were required by law to 
have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved, 
Type IV flotation device on board. 

And while we told our family we 
were going fishing on the Nottoway 
and mentioned which bridge, it may 
have been a good idea to tell them 
our intended route in case we didn't 
return at the agreed-upon time. 
Notwithstanding these oversights, 
we had a great day and — as is often 
the case — nothing went wrong! D 

Tom Guess serves as the statcioide coordi- 
nator for the Boating Safety Education 
Program at the DGIF. 



by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

Charcoal Roasted Whole Rockfish 

/I nywhere throughout coastal Virginia, the striped bass 
#1 (locally known as rockfish) is a saltwater fishing sta- 
ple. Landlocked stripers are also popular quarry in places 
such as Smith Mountain Lake and Lake Anna. 

Anglers targeting big fish find the spring season, when 
fish are migrating through the Chesapeake to spawn in 
one of its many tributaries, a great time to catch a trophy 
fish. Similarly, the late fall and winter seasons are excellent 
times to hook into giant fish more than 50 inches long and 
weighing up to 60 pounds. 

As with most fish and game, there is taxidermy trophy 
big and there is dinner plate trophy big. While monster- 
sized fish make for great stories and wall mounts, rockfish 
between 20 to 36 inches seem to make the best eating. 

We always try to save a spring rockfish in the 29- to 
36-inch or 8- to 18-pound range for roasting whole. This is 
a variation on an old-fashioned pig pickin'— only we're 
using whole rockfish. It's a hit at any gathering of friends 
and family. The fish is typically reduced to cleanly-picked 
bones within minutes. This cooking method also works for 
smaller fish. 

Make sure the rockfish is fully dressed, scrubbing and 
rinsing the interior cavity along the backbone. Remove the 
gills and ventral fins. Completely scale the fish from tail to 
gill plates. 

Ingredients can be varied based on fish size. 

Wine pairings: A nice crisp sauvignon blanc or pinot 
grigio can't be beat. If the fish has had a little smoke added, 
try a moderately oaked chardonnay. 

Recommended side dishes: Pasta salad, tossed salad or, 
simply, sliced ripe tomatoes and cucumbers match well. 
Provide a Mediterranean mk of olives and marinated pep- 
pers as a warm-up. Steamed or roasted tender asparagus, in 
season, is also a great accompaniment. 


1 rockfish (striped bass) 8 tol2 pounds 

1 cup white wine ( sauvignon blanc works well, but 

almost any dry white wine will suffice) 
1 stick of butter (of course you can substitute 

margarine— but it won't taste as good) 
3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper or a lemon 

pepper blend 
1 lemon sliced into Vs-inch diameter pieces 

3 tablespoons of fresh, finely chopped garlic 
3 teaspoons salt 
Vz cup olive oil 

Wrap Your Rock 

Get your gas grill ready or fire up the charcoal. We've 
cooked fish so big that they had to be cooked in a ground 
bed of charcoals atop cooking grates spread over concrete 
blocks. If you cook a big fish over coals on the ground, 
make sure you have something that'll block the v^nd and 
tent the cooking area to enable the fish to heat properly, es- 
pecially if it's a chilly day. 

Spread a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil that's 
about 6 inches longer and 4 inches v\nder than the fish. Lay 
the fish atop the sheet. Open the body cavity and sprinkle 
seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic) and 4 or 5 pats of butter 
evenly spaced from head to tail. Add 3 to 4 slices of fresh 
lemon. Using a sharp, small knife, make 1-inch incisions 
in the thick fleshy area along the side of the fish about an 
inch below the dorsal fin. Insert pats of butter into the slits. 
Season the outside skin of the fish, then flip it over and re- 
peat the process. Tear another sheet of foil and place over 
the fish; seal the top and bottom sheets together, rolling the 
edges and pinching tightly. Just before completely sealing, 
slowly pour in the white wine. Finish sealing. 

Place the rockfish on the grill about 6 inches from the 
coals. Turn after 30 minutes and cook 20 to 30 minutes 
longer. Carefully fold back the foil and inspect for done- 
ness. If thoroughly cooked, remove and drain liquid, trans- 
fer to a serving platter, and garnish v^th ample fresh lemon 
wedges. Be careful when transferring the fish because, 
cooked this way, it vdll literally want to fall off the bone. 

An option for those wanting crispy skin is to cook the 
fish in the foil for about 20 minutes, then turn and cook 
another 12-15 minutes. Carefully remove from the foil and 
then finish the fish in a broiler or atop a grill (amply coated 
with olive oil). This will help crisp the skin and add an aes- 
thetic that some people prefer; just don't let the fish dry 
out. The other option is to add a couple of wood chips to 
your grill and then open the foil for the last 10 minutes of 
cooking to allow some liquid to steam off and the smoke 
flavor to infuse. Don't smoke it too much, though. And, if 
you decide to add a smoky flavor, back off on the lemon. A 
smoke-lemon combo never floated my boat. D 

MAY 2009 



by Lynda Richardson 

April Showers Bring ... May Flowers! 

/\ ne of the greatest things about 
X/ May is the flowers, millions of 
them blooming all across the state! 
One of my favorite places to witness 
a spectacular sea of wildflowers is the 
G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Man- 
agement Area in Northern Virginia. 
Thought to hold the largest popula- 
tion of large-flowered trillium in the 
country, this unbelievable display of 
some 14 million flowers can be pho- 
tographed in May. 

As far as the eye can see, white, 
pink, and purplish trillium flowers 
float low over the landscape, making 
it nearly impossible to decide where 
to start! To make matters worse, the 
flowers of the common bladderwort 
(yellow), yellow and purple violets, 
wild geranium (purple), star chick- 
weed (white), yellow lady slipper, 
showy orchids (pink and white), and 
coltsfoot (yellow) can be found here 
too. Wow! 

Normally, I start photographing 
early in the morning for the best light 
and the least amount of air move- 
ment. I look for the most appealing 
overall landscape views showing the 
most flowers. To really capture these 
scenes, wide-angled lenses ranging 
from 17mm to 35mm are the best op- 
tion. A tripod is very helpful because 
it encourages you to take your time 
and carefully compose your shots. 
Just be careful where you place the 
tripod legs. 

Walking around the edges of the 
vast array of trillium I am careful not 
to step on any if I can help it. Once I 
think I've got photographs that re- 
veal the overall feeling of the place, I 
start working closer to the flowers 
themselves, sometimes using tele- 
photo lenses to compress and clean 
up backgrounds and, other times, a 
macro lens to get the most intimate 
shots. I will sometimes sit for hours in 
one spot. 

Small photo reflectors or even 
white pieces of paper can help create 
"fill-light," which will eliminate dis- 


In May, the large-flowered trillium is the featured 
flower at the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Man- 
agement Area. This one was photographed in 
overcast light created when I blocked the sun 
from the scene with my body. 

tracting shadow areas. You may also 
want to use a small flash for this, but 
be careful that you don't over-expose 
the subject with too much flash or 
create black backgrounds (unless 
you want them) by forgetting to set 
your shutter speed properly. 

If you hike down the fire road 

trails, you may come across flowers 
such as the showy orchid and yellow 
lady slipper. You won't find these 
flowers in huge concentrations like 
the trillium but as individuals poking 
out from the fallen leaves, delicate 
and breath-taking. Make sure you 
don't miss them. 

If we got those April showers, 
I'm sure we'll get trillium — millions 
of them. So start planning your visit 
today. I'll see you there! D 

You are invited to submit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 
11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, 
VA 23230-1104. Send original slides, 
super high-quality prints, or high-res 
jpeg, tiff, or raw files on disk and include 
a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
other sliipping method for return. Also, 
please include any pertinent information 
regarding how and where you captured 
the image and what camera and settings 
you used, along with your phone num- 
ber We look forward to seeing and shar- 
ing your work with the readers of Vir- 
ginia Wildlifd 

Congratulations to Robert C. Peace of Williamsburg for his beautiful photograph of a tiger swallowtail 
on a bougainvillea plant taken near home. Robert used a Canon 40D digital SLR camera, telephoto lens, 
and shot at 1/ 500th, fl3.0, ISO 500. 



Mb A Boitiai Saf6ty Class 



Gljtc^^^r Catalog 


Limited Edition 
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Our 2008 Collector's knife has once again been customized by Buck 
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Item ff VW-408 $90.00 each {plus $7.25 S&H) 


Virginia Wildlife 

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Customized by Buck Knives, this classic model 1 1 folding knife is 
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Item # VW-407 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 

Fawn and TurtlesPlush Collectibles 

From mountains to the coast, our plush collectibles will re- 
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White-tailed Fawn 
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Hooks & Horns 

Video Game 

Match wits against the king of 
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To Order visit the Department's Web site at: or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 

Magazine subscription-related calls only 1-800-710-9369 

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Visit our Web site at 

• I • 

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